Ministers Flanagan and Sherlock welcome launch of joint British-Irish visa scheme31/10/14
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD and Minister for Development, Trade Promotion, and North-South Co-operation Sean Sherlock, TD, have welcomed today’s launch, in China, of a joint UK and Irish visa scheme, as a massive boost for trade, tourism and jobs. The scheme involves the mutual recognition by Ireland and the United Kingdom of each other’s short-stay visit visas for Chinese nationals.
For the first time, Chinese tourists, business visitors and others will be able to move freely between Britain and Ireland on a single visa. Trade between Ireland and China is worth more than €8bn and more than 30,000 Chinese tourists visited Ireland last year.
The scheme is made possible by closer cooperation between Irish and UK visa authorities on the ground, and follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and UK Home Secretary Theresa May at the Irish Embassy in London earlier this month.
Minister Flanagan pointed to the huge potential offered by the new deal:
“I have always seen the potential of closer cooperation with our British neighbours on matters of mutual interest. We have everything to gain from this deal which will make it easier for Irish businesses to trade with China and for Chinese tourists to come here. Our trade with China is worth more than €8 billion per annum, and last year we welcomed over 30,000 visitors from there. This will allow our Embassy and Consulates General in China to further develop these markets together with the State Agencies”.
Minister Sherlock added:
“The deal will enable further North-South cooperation in promoting Ireland as a place to visit and to do business. This will encourage Chinese people to broaden the scope of their travel; to be able to visit the whole island of Ireland on a single visa is a logical and practical step.”
The joint British-Irish Visa Scheme came into operation in China today. The scheme is due to be rolled out to cover India in the coming months. The Embassy of Ireland in Beijing has a factsheet with more information.
31 October 2014